You For Me For You

Nov. 5—Dec. 2 $35–$67.50
Woolly Mammoth Theatre
641 D St. NW, Washington, DC
(202) 393-3939
Little is known about day-to-day life in North Korea, and that makes the country an ideal setting for a play grounded in magical realism. The story opens soberly, however, with two sisters arguing over who deserves more of their meager meal. Soon the sisters are in trouble after attempting to bribe a cackling physician for better medical care, and their harrowing attempt to flee the country is conveyed through effective sound, lighting, and a super-cool jungle-gym-like structure. When the set rotates away, Minjee (Jo Mei) has been left behind, and Junhee (Ruibo Qian) is in New York City. Playwright Maya Chung employs multiple endings and voiceovers in her attempts to tie the narratives back together, and the denouement draws out a bit too long. One closing option has Junhee and her beau singing a satirical ballad about love and marriage reminiscent of the hokey refrain that closes Bernstein’s Candide. Thankfully, that’s not the note You for Me for You goes out on: As the lights dim, we get one final, bittersweet image of a sister sitting at a simple table, alone with her cereal and soy milk.

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